Tour Description

NSW North Coast: Port Macquarie to Brisbane

(Combined Adelaide and South Coast Departure)
Ten Days: 13th – 22nd May 2021

Twin Share: $4495 per person. Sole Use: $5195 per person.

Included in the tour:

  • Home pick-ups & set downs (most metro areas – please contact us for details)
  • Picnic-style morning teas & all meals as per the itinerary
  • All accommodation & admissions to all attractions
  • Experienced & informative tour driver/guide.

 

Come with us and enjoy a great winter escape as we tour north along the New South Wales coast from Port Macquarie to Brisbane. With hundreds of kilometres of sandy beaches, picturesque lakes and waterways, beautiful mountain ranges and hinterland, there is a wealth of magnificent scenery and fascinating attractions to be enjoyed. Basing ourselves in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour and Grafton along the way, we explore the beautiful regions that surround, taking in their natural beauty, wildlife and hospitality.

 

Day One – THURSDAY 13 MAY 2021

(includes light lunch and two course dinner)

Welcome to our tour from Port Macquarie to Brisbane!

After being picked up from our homes (limited areas) we are taken to the Adelaide Airport terminal. On arrival we are met by an Endeavour Tours representative who assists us with our group check-in and security procedures and takes us to the gate, ready to board our flight to Port Macquarie via Sydney.

At the Port Macquarie airport we are met by a guide, who assists those who need help with luggage and escorts us to the Endeavour Tours minicoach.

Our accommodation for the next three nights is at Waters Edge, Port Macquarie (Ph: 02 6583 2955), situated on the banks of the beautiful Hasting River. There will be time to unpack and freshen up before dinner in the restaurant and an opportunity to meet our fellow travellers.

 Day Two – FRIDAY 14 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Situated amidst a stunning coastline of rocky headlands and on the banks of the Hastings River estuary, Port Macquarie is a vibrant city on the beautiful mid-north coast and is known for its extensive beaches and waterways. Greater Port Macquarie boasts an incredible coastline of 84 kilometres, although the topography of the area is very diverse including sand dunes, coastal wetlands, flood plains, forests and mountain regions.

This morning we visit somewhere very unique: the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. It is the world’s first hospital dedicated solely to the care and preservation of koalas injured through bushfires, dog attacks and accidents with vehicles. It is a wildlife rehabilitation centre and is licensed to perform on-site procedures and treatments. As well as rescuing, restoring the health of and releasing wild koalas, scientific research is an important component of the hospital. We are taken on a guided tour of the facility with a volunteer, and have the opportunity to meet some of the koalas and hear about the important work that is undertaken here.

Following our morning tea, we head inland to Wauchope, a town whose economy was traditionally based on the timber industry. At different stages during its history, more timber was transported out of Wauchope than any other town in Australia and timber from this region was even used in the construction of the Sydney Opera House.

Wauchope is home to Timbertown, a popular heritage park depicting the colonial era of a sawmiller’s village. Set amongst 87 acres of natural forest, Timbertown is an authentic heritage township where the horse and carriage still runs. Diligently re-created by the local preservation group, this pioneer village demonstrates the struggles and achievements during the late 1800s to early 1900s. There will be plenty of time to enjoy Timbertown at our leisure as well as visit the many retailers in the park who offer unique wares and gifts.

Lunch is enjoyed in the Maid and Wedge Restaurant here in Timbertown with extra time afterwards to continue exploring.

At the end of a fantastic day, we return to our motel for time to relax and freshen up before dinner.

Day Three – SATURDAY 15 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

After breakfast, we take a tour around Port Macquarie before heading to the water!

This morning we board a popular Dolphin Spotting Cruise which travels on the Hastings River. There are over 150 Dolphins that frequent the river and a number appear beside the boat on most cruises, as they enjoy surfing the waves caused by the boats path. We listen to an informative commentary as we enjoy a relaxing cruise on the water, spotting these magnificent marine animals.

After disembarking, we leave the river and head to the forest! Port Macquarie is home to one of the largest, least disturbed and most diverse coastal rainforests in New South Wales: Sea Acres National Park. We make our way to the Rainforest Centre, where our first stop will be at the café where we enjoy lunch in this beautiful setting. In the afternoon we have time to explore both the centre and the rainforest itself. Walking on the elevated boardwalk, we get a good view of the forest canopy and become immersed in the sights, sounds and tranquillity of this rare subtropical rainforest.

For those wishing to do a little shopping, there will be the opportunity this afternoon to browse the local shops, walk along the beach or simply relax at the motel before dinner.

Day Four – SUNDAY 16 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

We say goodbye to Port Macquarie and start our journey north. Its a pleasant and picturesque drive to our first stop at Trial Bay Gaol, located in Arakoon National Park. The gaol is situated on the peninsula of the bay and boasts spectacular coastal views. Certainly an unusual setting for a gaol!

After morning tea we tour these historic ruins which include a well-curated museum of historic artefacts, a guard tower lookout and a memorial. Originally built in 1886 after 13 years of construction, the gaol housed prisoners whose purpose it was to construct a breakwater to make the bay a safe harbour. The breakwater was actually never completed and while much of it has been eroded with the tides, we can still see a little of the remains today. In World War One, the gaol was used as an internment camp for local German residents who were suspected of conspiring with the enemy. It hasn’t been used as an active gaol since.

A short distance along the coast we arrive at South West Rocks, a quiet town located on the mid north coast and situated near the mouth of the Macleay River. It has a beautiful and popular swimming beach and is surrounded by towering pines.

After lunch, we continue our journey, making our way to the lovely, coastal town of Nambucca Heads, a relaxed seaside town at the mouth of the beautiful, meandering Nambucca River. In the 19th century it was a busy shipbuilding centre and coastal port but today it is a popular holiday spot where natural beauty abounds, from the uncrowded beaches to the sparkling estuary. Fantastic views of stunning beaches and the huge expanse of the South Pacific Ocean are enjoyed from lookouts along the way. We spend some time looking around Nambucca Heads before continuing our scenic drive, appreciating the outstanding beauty of this coastal region.

On arrival in Coffs Harbour, we check into our comfortable accommodation at the Country 2 Coast Motor Inn, Coffs Harbour (Ph: 02 6652 8222), where we will be staying for three nights.

Day Five – MONDAY 17 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Coffs Harbour is a popular spot for holiday-makers. Nestled between a mountain backdrop and many beaches, it is also the only place in New South Wales where the Great Dividing Range meets the Pacific Ocean. At one point, the economy was based mainly on banana production, but now blueberries, fishing and tourism play an equally significant role.

We set off after breakfast driving south along the Pacific Highway before turning inland along Waterfall Way. This beautiful drive is so named because of the variety of falls along its route.

Our first stop is in Bellingen a small, picturesque town situated on the banks of the Bellinger River. It is the home of The Old Butter Factory, a small craft village and café which opened in 1991, nearly 30 years after butter production ceased at the site. The village houses a variety of specialist retailers, and many handmade products and artworks can be found here. We have time to browse before enjoying morning tea in the café.

From here we venture into Dorrigo National Park to experience one of the most stunning and accessible rainforests on the east coast. There are many lookouts throughout the park that offer great vantage points for magnificent vistas, as well as the famous Skywalk at the Dorrigo Rainforest Centre. We visit the Centre with its educational, interactive displays which guide us through different aspects of this World Heritage-listed rainforest. Attached to the centre is the Skywalk, a 70 metre boardwalk taking us over the top of the rainforest canopy. Easily accessible, the boardwalk is perched over the edge of the escarpment and provides views of the coast, deep valley and gorges, all blanketed in lush rainforest. Before leaving this spectacular area with its awesome photo opportunities, we have time to browse through the rainforest shop.

Just metres from the entrance to the Skywalk is the Canopy Café, where we will have our lunch while enjoying the great surroundings and listening to the birds.

Continuing along Waterfall Way after lunch, we arrive at the serene town of Dorrigo, close to the edge of the escarpment above the Bellingen Valley. Here we drive to the lookout for more amazing views over this spectacular countryside and then continue on to Dangar Falls. Located on the Bielsdown River, these small but picturesque falls plunge 30 metres over a basalt wall and provide a wonderful vista.

After exploring this magnificent area, we return to the motel for dinner and a relaxing evening.

Day Six – TUESDAY 18 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

This morning, after breakfast, we visit the multi award-winning Dolphin Marine Conservation Park, which is the only zoological park in New South Wales that exhibits dolphins. The centre works closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, providing a recovery refuge for stranded or injured marine life and other native fauna, as well as being a place where people can enjoy close association with the animals, while discovering more about them. There will be the opportunity to enjoy the Dolphin Dreamtime and Sea lions Live experiences, where the marine team share facts and stories about the animals, while demonstrating their amazing abilities.

Following our visit, we take a short drive to Forest Sky Pier, located at Sealy Lookout within Bruxner Park Flora Reserve. The pier extends 21 metres out from the edge of the lookout and stands 15 metres above the forest floor, offering sensational panoramic views over the mountains to the Coffs Harbour coastline. This is definitely a photo opportunity not to be missed!

The award-winning Coffs Harbour Butterfly House is the home of more than 400 live Australian butterflies. On arrival, we will enjoy a light lunch in their café, the perfect setting to relax and take in our surrounds. We then have the opportunity to share the world of butterflies, as we stroll through the indoor sub-tropical rainforest environment and watch them fly around us, showing off their fascinating colours and patterns.

This afternoon there is some free time where you can browse the shops, walk along the beach or simply catch up on some rest and relaxation at our accommodation.

Day Seven – WEDNESDAY 19 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

We begin our day with a visit to the Solitary Islands Aquarium, which provides a window into the unique marine environment of the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Here, we discover what makes the Coffs Coast so special as we walk through the aquariums and visual displays where we can see colourful clownfish, sea anemone, crayfish, sea urchins, brilliantly coloured angel fish, butterfly fish and more. One of the aims of the aquarium is to highlight some of the research done at the National Marine Science Centre.

After morning tea we take the short drive north to Korora where we find Carobana Confectionary, a factory that produces a large range of carob coated products. Carob is taken from the pod of the Carob plant which is then ground to a flour and widely used as a cocoa substitute due to its superior nutritional values. We take a tour of the factory to see the production line, kitchens making honeycomb and brittles and the enrober, where carob coating starts. Lastly we can browse through the shop where we can make purchases if we wish.

Back on the Pacific Highway we take a leisurely drive to Woolgoolga. The surrounding area is the centre of banana growing in New South Wales, but the industry has declined because of competition from Queensland and overseas. There are some wonderful lookouts in the area, so after lunch we take the opportunity to drive to the Woolgoolga Lookout.

This afternoon we travel inland along the Pacific Highway and venture off the main highway to explore the coast, stopping at two scenic seaside villages surrounded by the Yuraygir National Park. We take a drive around Wooli, located on a spit of land between the ocean and the Wooli Wooli River before heading over to Minnie Water, a small tranquil coastal village with magnificent beaches.

Our final destination today is Grafton and on arrival we make our way to Quality Inn Grafton (Ph: 02 6640 9100) which will be home for the next two nights.

After settling into our rooms we enjoy dinner together in the dining room.

Day Eight – THURSDAY 20 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Located on the majestic Clarence River and one of Australia’s most beautiful provincial cities, Grafton is the commercial hub of the Clarence Valley. Characterised by its wide streets and elegant Victorian buildings, it is probably best known for the spectacular display of purple Jacaranda trees in the springtime.

After a drive around Grafton, we set off for Yamba, a charming village situated at the mouth of the Clarence River, the biggest river on the east coast of Australia. Once the region’s main trade route, the river still supports a large prawn trawling and fishing industry and several ferries still link the islands and rural villages. Yamba is known for its pristine beaches and is a unique and popular holiday destination. We will have a look around the area before our morning tea.

A short distance east of Yamba is Maclean, a small rural town on the banks of the Clarence River. It is known as the “Scottish town in Australia”, with many of its street names written in Gaelic and English.  There are hundreds of tartan-painted power poles which have become world-renowned. Maclean is also home to Australia’s oldest Free Presbyterian Church, that still holds services today. Just a short distance from the town is the Maclean Lookout that offers spectacular views of the coast, cane fields, bushland, Clarence River and township.

We enjoy our lunch in Maclean before travelling further inland along the river, crossing via the ferry to the small town of Lawrence where we visit the Reeves Family Sugar Cane Farm. The Reeves family have been farming in the region for five generations and sustainably work the land. A guided tour of this working farm will give us a great insight into the sugar industry and life of the cane farmer.

Travelling along the western side of the Clarence River, we return to the motel.

Day Nine – FRIDAY 21 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch and two course dinner)

Farewelling our hosts here in Grafton, we travel north along the eastern side of the Clarence River to Iluka, a small village at the mouth of the Clarence River in New South Wales, Australia. It is situated directly across the river from the resort town of Yamba and a lovely place for morning tea today.

We continue north to Ballina, a major holiday and service centre on the New South Wales north coast. Situated where the Richmond River meets the sea and home to the Big Prawn. Before lunch in town, we take a scenic drive around, marvelling at the beautiful coastline.

This afternoon sees us on our way to the town of Byron Bay, a destination popular with surfers. Located on Cape Byron, Australia’s most easterly point, we take the opportunity to look around the town before continuing our journey north to Brisbane.

For our last night on this tour we will stay at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Brisbane (Ph: 07 3831 4055).

Day Ten – SATURDAY 22 MAY 2021

(includes cooked breakfast, light lunch)

We have arranged a local to join our bus this morning for a guided tour of Brisbane. We drive through the CBD, inner suburbs and Southbank Parklands, a pristine haven of natural beauty situated right on the Brisbane River. The river was actually named after the New South Wales Governor at the time, just one of the interesting stories you’ll discover as we tour. We see many significant buildings and sites, including St John’s Cathedral which has a four manual pipe organ, the largest cathedral organ in Australia.

The highest peak in Queensland and one of Brisbane’s most popular tourist destinations, is Mount Coot-tha. The lookout here offers magnificent panoramic views of the city.

It is time to return home, so we continue to Brisbane Airport where we are assisted through the check-in process and guided to the departure area ready to board our direct Qantas flight back to Adelaide.

Upon arrival in Adelaide, we are met at the gate by an Endeavour Tours representative, who guides us to the baggage collection area and assists us with reclaiming our luggage. Our cars are waiting to return us home with unforgettable memories of the sensational scenery and spectacular highlights on this wonderful coastal journey from Port Macquarie to Brisbane.